The photo had gone viral for all the wrong reasons among fans before Sri Lanka’s clash against England in ICC Men Cricket World Cup 2019. Mahela Jayawardene, however, used the same picture to hail Lasith Malinga after the bowler ran through the hosts’ batting order in Leeds.
The retired Sri Lankan batsmen used his official Instagram account to share the below photo of Malinga, which was a victim to online trolls over his unfit body.
Prior to their major upset victory over tournament hosts and favourites, Sri Lanka had won only one of their five matches and were on the brink of being eliminated. Sri Lanka had posted a modest 232 in their 50 overs and England were cruising 126/2 after 30 overs into the chase with Joe Root and Ben Stokes at the crease. The duo looked set to guide England to a comfortable win.
On came Malinga for his seventh over and the bowler turned the pages of history. Malinga’s dismissal of Joe Root was a lucky one with a nick down the leg side but it was the dismissal of Jos Buttler that caught the attention of fans.
A bouncer was followed by a yorker which trapped the hard-hitting English wicketkeeper plumb in front. The much talked lower batting order of Mooen Ali, Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer were once again put under the pump and in no time England were reduced to 186/9, with Ben Stokes playing the role of a lone ranger and holding the fort.
Malinga gave just 2 runs in his final two overs and the run rate shot to nine for the last five overs. Ben Stokes almost pulled it off before Mark Wood edged one to the keeper in the 47th over.
Malinga finished with figures of 43/4 and showed that a few dropped miles or a few gained pounds doesn’t make him ineffective. The 37-year-old still had enough tricks up his sleeve to rattle the Eoin Morgan led side. The head to head between the two teams in World cup now reads 4-0 in favour of Lankan lions. “I hope this game will give Sri Lanka a lot of confidence in this ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. They have beaten one of the best teams in the world, and they need to believe in themselves,” Jayawardene added in his column for ICC.
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